Alibaba's Greg Jenkins departs to found North Bay Strategies

Earlier this year, Jim Wilkinson left his role as Alibaba's head of international corporate affairs to start his own firm.

Greg Jenkins
Greg Jenkins

SAN FRANCISCO: Greg Jenkins has left China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba to start his own executive coaching firm, North Bay Strategies.

The firm officially launched Monday in San Francisco when its website went live. Its services include media and communications training, presentation coaching, and message development.

Asked to describe the clients in terms of sector, Jenkins responded, "It really runs the gamut. I’m building my client base now and will be talking to folks I’ve worked with in the past and new folks as well."

Jenkins added that he has been in talks with people in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past two weeks to "gauge interest" for "business development purposes." He explained that the firm isn’t in expansion mode yet, but there are "some folks [he] would love to think about bringing on when the time is right."

"I want to get established in the Bay Area initially," Jenkins said.

At Alibaba, Jenkins was a director, serving on the comms, strategy, and planning team. He was part of the group that created the messaging framework and global communications framework as the Alibaba entered the world market. He joined Alibaba in 2014.

"While I’m grateful to Alibaba for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing company, [executive coaching] has always been a passion of mine," Jenkins said. "The opportunity was certainly there but it wasn’t the focus of what I was there to do. I’ve been focusing on building out Alibaba’s influencer program, which was about identifying key audiences and finding ways to keep them informed."

Leaving Alibaba at the end of September to start North Bay, Jenkins follows the lead of Jim Wilkinson, who was head of international corporate affairs before exiting the company earlier this year to start TrailRunner International. TrailRunner handles consulting work for Alibaba.

Wilkinson’s replacement was Jennifer Kuperman, who spoke with PRWeek in April about Alibaba’s strategy is to help businesses outside China access the country’s market.

"[Jenkins] made many contributions to Alibaba during his tenure and we wish him the best with his new firm," Kuperman said.

Prior to joining Alibaba, Jenkins was a director at Brunswick Group. He worked at the White House as director of the office of global communication and, most recently, as deputy assistant to the president. He was a special assistant in the George W. Bush administration.

The first firm Jenkins started was Frontier International Communications, a Washington, D.C.-based shop. Clients included GE, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, McCain ’08, and the San Antonio Spurs, according to Jenkins’ LinkedIn profile.

"I will certainly bring my experiences with Alibaba and China’s market to my coaching," Jenkins said. "But the coaching I will be focusing on primarily is not business development -- it’s about communication."

This article was updated on October 21 to correct Jenkins' career history and his responsibilities at Alibaba.

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